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Match Report

Harrow Borough
1
Hendon
1
Date:
Saturday 11 March 2006
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
190
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon midfielder Dave Hunt walked off the pitch and asked, "What do we have to do to win a game?" The simple answer would to be say, "Take your chances," although "Be lucky" would be just a valid. Certainly the Greens were lacking on both counts on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at Harrow Borough.

There were a number of changes - positional and personnel - from the line-up beaten 3-0 at Chelmsford in midweek, including two debutants, Rikki Banks in goal and Daniel Mead at left wing-back. The third change was Blaise O'Brien returning to the starting line-up. The absentees were Dave King, who was unavailable and James Burgess and Iain Duncan, both of whom dropped to the bench.

It took all of 15 seconds for Harrow to test Banks's mettle and the young goalkeeper did just enough to push aside a drive from Brian Haule, although it looked a far from convicing piece of keeping. The resulting corner was cleared, though not without alarm.

Harrow continued to set the pace and Banks - a 17-year-old from Crystal Palace who came recommended by former Hendon (and Harrow) boss Bob Dowie, now the Eagles' Director of Football - still exhibited nervousness as he dealt with a shot from Elliot Onochie.

Borough, almost inevitably, took the lead in the 12th minute. A left-wing corner was bundled into the net by Wayne Walters, but it appeared he had bundled Banks aside to reach the ball. Hendon protests to the referee were half-hearted at best.

There was no capitulation again. Within five minutes, Lee O'Leary had seen a goalbound shot blocked by the head of Danny McGonigle and a promising attack come to nothing as Mead failed to find Andy Cook, Ross Pickett or Dave Hunt with a cross.

Chances were coming at both ends as the game became very open. However, it was easy to see why both teams occupy bottom-third positions because the quality of final balls and finishing was far below that of the approach play. Harrow's defending was, if anything, slightly more panicky than Hendon's, but the Dons could not capitalise.

Charlie Mapes was Hendon's most influential player, but his probing runs and passes often were inches away from being the ones to slice open Borough's defence. When he found O'Brien with one great pass, goalkeeper Keita Karamoko was Harrow's hero with a brilliant block to deny him.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Hendon took almost complete control. Harrow forwards were constantly thwarted on the counter-attack by offside flags - Onochie had the ball in the net after 65 minutes, but the whistle had blown before he lifted the ball over Banks.

But Hendon weren't getting much in the way of good fortune at the other end. Pickett was pushed over by Walters as the pair chased a through ball. The referee looked to his assistant for advice, especially as the latter had a better angle to view the incident, but the official abrogated his responsibility making no signal, then shouting at the Hendon bench that it was not his call to make.

After 50 minutes O'Leary went down with an injury that required lengthy treatment. He returned with a heavily bandaged foot that was almost immediately trodden on by James Bent, which earned the Harrow man a yellow card. O'Leary soon left the field to be replaced by Duncan.

In the 63rd minute, Hendon forced a corner which Karamoko came for but didn't get close to. Cook won the ball and his header was cleared off the line by Walters. Darren Watson then came on for Pickett to add a fresh pair of legs and a more physical presence.

Karamoko made a couple of fair saves and O'Brien and Mapes both fired shots off target before a misplaced clearance from the goalkeeper invited Mead to try his luck from 40 yards out. His shot towards an open goal never looked like going far enough and it lacked the accuracy too.

With ten minutes of normal time remaining, Hendon got just a bit of luck and an equaliser. Karamoko fumbled a cross as he collided with teammate Rickey Browne and Danny Neilsen hacked the ball clear. Unfortunately it struck McGonigle - a couple of yards away - just behind his ear and the defender went down barely conscious. The referee had probably three seconds to see the incident and stop play before Mapes fired in a 25-yard drive that arrowed into the bottom corner.

Karamoko had seen McGonigle's condition, as had a couple of teammates, and their concentration was solely on their fallen teammate. The goal stood and Neilsen was booked for protesting that the game should have been halted. After a lengthy stoppage, McGonigle was stretchered from the field.

Amazingly, there were 12 minutes of stoppage time, during which period Hendon should have scored at least four times. O'Brien, Mapes and Cook forced sprawling saves from Karamoko, Hunt had the ball taken off his foot as he was about to shoot and Watson struck the outside of a post with a 20-yard drive. Three inches less bend and it would have been a spectacular winner.

But the miss of the match came from the same player in 56th minute of the half. O'Brien worked himself clear of all Harrow defenders wide of the goal, just outside the six-yard box. His cross picked out Watson, who was five yards from goal. Watson headed downwards and despite the copiously sanded and heavy pitch, the ball somehow bounced over the bar.

"I don't know what to say," said manager Gary McCann. "I can't fault the effort or the application, but we just can't seem to get the luck."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Rikki Banks
2
Lee O'Leary
3
Daniel Mead
4
James Parker
5
Mark Cooper
6
Marc Leach
7
Dave Hunt
8
Charlie Mapes
9
Ross Pickett
10
Blaise O'Brien
11
Andy Cook
12
James Burgess
14
Takumi Ake
15
Iain Duncan
16
Darren Watson
17
Danny Julienne

Match Events

Wayne Walters
12''
57''
Iain Duncan replaced Lee O'Leary
Victor Asombang replaced James Bent
64''
69''
Darren Watson replaced Ross Pickett
Ross Fitzsimon replaced Danny McGonigle
79''
79''
Charlie Mapes
Marcus Campbell replaced Brian Haule
90''

Harrow Borough

1
Keita Karamoko
2
Daniel Nielsen
3
Edmond Protain
4
Wayne Walters
5
Rickey Browne
6
Danny McGonigle
7
Daniel Dyer
8
Steve Dogbe
9
Elliot Onochie
10
Brian Haule
11
James Bent
12
Victor Asombang
14
Ross Fitzsimon
15
Marcus Campbell
16
Marvin Neufville
17
Gary Ross